Where I’ve been and where I’m going

Last month I had to get a new passport because mine was set to expire 5 February 2013.  Now, typically getting a new passport isn’t such a big deal.  Fill out some forms, mail off your old passport and a few weeks (or more) later you have a new passport. Or, you could visit a passport center and get a new one if you’re in a rush and a have access to a passport center.

When you travel internationally for business as much as I do, mailing off for a renewal passport isn’t really an option. There’s no passport center where I live (sure, there are passport agencies, but they’re no quicker than the good old mail.)  So I had to figure out how to renew.

I happened to be in New York and was lucky to get an appointment at the NY Passport Center.  Easy enough, or so I thought.  I got my passport, signed it and got ready for my next trip.   Fast forward 2 weeks and I’m packing up for my trip to Hong Kong.

I went through security in Charleston and used my passport as ID. No problem.  I went through LA security, no problem.  It wasn’t until I got to Hong Kong that there was a little snag.  The birthday in my passport didn’t match the birthday I wrote on my customs form – and the agent in Hong Kong noticed.  I laughed and played it off saying, “oh, I’m not used to writing the date in the DD/MM/YY format. In the US we write our birth month first. And smiled”  He looked for a few minutes and then waived me on.  Phew! That was close.

So how the heck did my birthday get printed wrong on my Passport and why didn’t I check it!  The truth is, I’m very used to using the DD/MM/YY format since I work with international offices only.   I guess I’m so used to writing that way, that I filled out my forms wrong when I got the passport.   Now, the bigger question is how did the woman at the passport center miss that?  She noticed, and questioned, why I was only using my middle initial on my new passport and not my full middle name.  She noticed that detail, but not the birthday?  Okay, in fairness, I didn’t even look at my birthday on the passport and she must not have either.

I knew I had to get it fixed, and was worried that if it was wrong when I re-entered the US that the Global Entry Kiosks would reject it.  So, I did the only thing I could do – I made an appointment at the US Consulate in Hong Kong.  I filled out some more forms, explained the situation and paid another fee . Three days later, I had a new passport waiting for me at the Consulate.  This time, the woman at the Consulate checked every single piece of data. I asked if that was standard and she said it was, but that sometimes people don’t pay close attention since they see so many.  Uh, that’s not comforting.

Getting a new passport mid-trip was a bit complex.  The Consulate explained that since my entry stamp was in the old passport – which they cancelled and returned to me – I’d have to show both the old, and the new passport at any borders.  That really threw off some agents at the Macau border!  I got a lot more questions than I ever have before.  But, I’m very happy to have a corrected new passport in hand.

So with a new passport in hand, I’m taking a look back at where I’ve been and where I’m going – call it a bucket list retrospective.

Where I’ve been:

  • Australia – I enjoyed Australia and had a great trip.  The highlight was seeing the fireworks on NYE from the rooftop of the FourPoints Sheraton at Darling Harbour
  • Belgium – I would love to visit when its not so cold. My trips have all be winter trips.  I love walking through the old streets!
  • Canada – I love Canada. I’ve been all over and return whenever I can.  Whistler and Banff are two of my favorite spots.
  • China – I’ve been to Macau and Hong Kong now. And I’m not sure I’m inspired to go back for vacation. I’m sure I’ll be back for work
  • Fiji  – I just loved Fiji!  The people are wonderful and the island is beautiful
  • France – great food!
  • Germany – again, a place I’ve only visited when it’s freezing…in fact, once during a blizzard.
  • Great Britain – I’ve been many, many times for vacation and business with lots more trips to come
  • Israel  – again, a place I’ve been to often since I have lots of family there
  • Italy – been once to Rome, for two days, I would love to spend more time there!
  • South Korea  – one day isn’t really enough to know a place, but I’d love to get to know it better
  • Mexico – in no hurry to go back!
  • Morocco – I would love to go!
  • Netherlands – I loved the tulips! I could visit the tulips anytime.  The rest…eh…I wouldn’t rush back
  • Singapore – I loved my first visit so much that I’m headed back in December
  • Switzerland  – I was there during Christmas a few years ago and it was so picture perfect!
  • Turkey – shopping & fabulous food – enough said
  • Thailand – I love Thailand so much I’ve gone every year for the past 4 years for vacation.  I have also been for work a ton and will be back in October.
  • Vietnam – I was there for 2 days a few years ago and can’t wait to head back in December
  • 49 of 50 US States – I’m missing Iowa .  My favorite state?  Alaska!

I feel like I’m missing some places off of my list.  But this is what I can recall. 

Where I’m going:

I have trips currently planned to these places I’ve never been:

  • Malaysia
  • Cambodia
Where I’d like to go in 2013
  • Norway or Iceland – I want to see the Northern Lights again
  • Tanzania
  • South Africa
So, what’s on your bucket list?

10 Comments on "Where I’ve been and where I’m going"

  1. So far I have planned Singapore for new years eve, and Kuala Lumpur for 2 days! Next year Scandinavia for sure! I already booked hotel in Copenhagen and Oslo, and it is on Eurovision dates!!! Can’t wait! On another hand you just gave me an idea to visit all the States-so far I visited only 13 of them!! Thank you!

  2. @Sahib – that sounds fun! I’ve just learned about Eurovision and that sounds like a great trip!

  3. My list of places I’ve been and I’m going to this year is by far not as huge as yours.
    This March I traveled to the US for two weeks and in September I will be back to the US for another two weeks.
    First trip took me to LA, Las Vegas, Zion NP, Palm Springs area, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, …
    My trip in September will take me to LA, San Franciso Bay area, Yosemite NP, …
    I’m really excited about it, less than five weeks to go!
    I always love it to return to the American Southwest.
    Other places I want to (re-)visit (maybe next year?) include San Antonio, TX and NYC.

  4. It’s seems you’ve been around south east asia. Try to go off the beaten path
    Philippines – El Nido Palawan, Aman Pulo, or Boracay

  5. You have very nice plans. I fully understand your wish to see the Northern Lights. For me, this was my best birthday experience: //kdivertravels.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/perfect-birthday-gift-from-nature-aurora-borealis/

    Keep travelling and enjoy!

  6. Great list! I’d highly recommend South Africa. I had an amazing time there a few years ago. Next up for me is mainland China and I have an award ticket booked for Thailand (with a return from Siem Reap to see Angkor) early next year, but I may change that if I can find a free flight to somewhere even farther from the beaten path. Top of my bucket list are Chile/Easter Island, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, and Israel/Petra.

  7. Oops, I meant to say “free flight… ” 🙂

  8. @kevin, fixed it to say flight.

    I’ll let you know how Cambodia is. I agree on Galapagos!

  9. @Katrien – that’s amazing! Is that an igloo?

  10. Copenhagen is an amazing city and even the airport is a culinary delight. Then hop over to Malmo for a visit to the old city and all a short flight from most of the London airports.

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